NFL DFS Picks: Plays and Strategy for Conference Championship Baller

The AFC Championship Game and NFC Championship Game will be played Sunday, with Kansas City-Baltimore kicking things off at 3 p.m. EST, followed by Detroit-San Francisco at 6:30 p.m. Super Bowl LVIII berths will be on the line, and Yahoo will be running NFL DFS contests for Sunday's two-game slate, led by the $100K Conference Round Baller, which pays out a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 to the top 1,144 finishers, including $20,000 to the winner. You can submit up to 150 entries into this contest, which has a maximum total capacity of 5,850 entries but will still run if it doesn't fill, potentially providing you with enhanced odds of winning, also known as overlay.

Playing in guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests is about chasing upside, while lineups geared toward head-to-head, 50/50 or double-up formats should prioritize high floors. The players you want to target for these different contest types aren't mutually exclusive, but winning a GPP tournament usually requires finding a hidden gem or going against the grain in a spot or two, while building a solid base of the same chalk plays you would use anywhere. Against-the-grain plays typically consist of big-name players in tough matchups or boom-or-bust types with uncertain roles.

[Play in Yahoo's NFL $100K Conference Round Baller – guaranteed prize pool of $100K]

Keep in mind that Yahoo DFS contests use 0.5 PPR scoring rather than full PPR, which lowers the comparative value of wide receivers and running backs (in that order) while especially affecting high-volume pass-catchers. Your NFL $100K Conference Round Baller lineup will consist of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and one D/ST unit.

Sunday's suggested plays include a budget QB-WR stack that could produce major bang for the buck, as well as the best playoff pass-catcher of this era(s tour).


Brock Purdy, SF vs. DET ($29)

Purdy struggled in the rain for much of the divisional round, but heated up just in time to prevent San Francisco from suffering a shocking upset loss at the hands of the upstart Packers. He completed six of seven passes for 47 yards and rushed twice for 11 yards on San Francisco's penultimate possession, which ended with the game-winning touchdown in a 24-21 victory. With clear skies in the forecast for the NFC Championship Game, Purdy should find more success against a Lions defense that has allowed 373.6 passing yards per game to the last five QBs to face Detroit and at least 345 in each of those games. Purdy's game slipped over the last three weeks to the tune of a 3:4 TD:INT, but he was the league's leading MVP candidate heading into Week 17 thanks to a 31:7 TD:INT through 15 starts. The path of least resistance to moving the ball for the favored 49ers will be through the air considering Detroit allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the regular season. Purdy also has numerous elite pass catchers and YAC specialists at his disposal.

Honorable Mentions:

Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. KC ($39), Patrick Mahomes, KC at BAL ($33)


Christian McCaffrey, SF vs. DET ($42)

Even against the stout Detroit run defense, paying up for McCaffrey should be worth it. His versatile skill set was on full display in the Divisional Round, when McCaffrey rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns while catching seven of a season-high 12 targets. That strong performance came on the heels of a tremendous regular season in which McCaffrey led the NFL with 1,459 rushing yards and tied Raheem Mostert for the league lead with 21 scrimmage TDs. If Samuel's out or limited, McCaffrey could see even more short targets against a Lions defense that didn't allow a receiving TD to an RB in the regular season, but ranked in the middle of the pack in receiving yards allowed to the position and gave up a receiving score to Tampa Bay's Rachaad White last week.

Justice Hill, BAL vs. KC ($18)

Between injuries and shifting roles, Baltimore's backfield hasn't had much consistency this season, but Hill's usage appears to be peaking at the right time. Hill led the Ravens in carries (13) and was efficient in the 34-10 Divisional Round win over the Texans, racking up 66 rushing yards while Gus Edwards (10 carries for 40 yards) and the cooked Dalvin Cook (eight carries for 23 yards) combined for 63 on 18 attempts. Edwards is still the first choice for goal-line carries, and much of Baltimore's rushing production comes from QB Lamar Jackson, but Hill was already the team's top pass-catcher out of the backfield (20 targets in the last four games) and appears to be the primary RB option on the ground as well heading into the AFC Championship Game.

Honorable Mentions:

Isiah Pacheco, KC at BAL ($31); Jahmyr Gibbs, DET at SF ($28)


Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET at SF ($34)

St. Brown has at least 77 yards and a touchdown in five of his last six games, and his lone game without hitting one of those benchmarks was a 110-yard performance against the Rams in the wild-card round. After finishing third in receiving yards (1,515) and tied for second in receptions (119) during the regular season, St. Brown has continued to produce like a star in the playoffs, and he's likely to see plenty of volume with the Lions expected to be playing catchup, as the 49ers are favored by a touchdown. San Francisco's defense has been less stout against WRs than other positions, as the 49ers gave up the fifth-most receptions (232) and ninth-most TDs (16) to WRs in the regular season.

Rashee Rice, KC at BAL ($27)

Rice emerged as the clear leader in Kansas City's underwhelming WR room down the stretch, as the rookie has caught 55 of 72 targets for 695 yards and four touchdowns over his last eight games. Rice's lowest totals in both targets (four) and receiving yards (47) came in a 27-24 divisional round win over Buffalo, but he still finished with the game's third-highest receiving yardage total. That modest stat line can be chalked up to a mix of Buffalo controlling the clock and Kansas City exploiting a weak Bills run defense, as Patrick Mahomes' 23 pass attempts marked his lowest total since Week 7 of the 2020 season. With more throws likely to come his way against the Ravens, Rice should bounce back in Baltimore, even against a stingy Ravens secondary.

Jauan Jennings, SF vs. DET ($10)

Jennings had a quietly strong game in the divisional round, taking advantage of Samuel's first-half exit with five catches for 61 yards on six targets. If Samuel remains out for the NFC Championship Game, Jennings would be a steal at the minimum valuation against Detroit's leaky secondary, especially if you're stacking San Francisco's offense and looking to clear cap space for McCaffrey. Even if Samuel plays, Jennings could be worth a flier as a low-risk, high-reward option. Jennings has exceeded 60 percent of offensive snaps only three times between the regular season and playoffs this season, and he posted at least 54 receiving yards in two of those games.

Honorable Mentions:

Brandon Aiyuk, SF vs. DET ($28); Zay Flowers, BAL vs. KC ($23)


Travis Kelce, KC at BAL ($22)

The narrative around Kelce's decline has deflated faster than a Tom Brady football circa 2015. After a lackluster regular season, Kelce has shown that he's still the NFL's top receiving tight end in the playoffs. After racking up seven catches for 71 yards against the Dolphins in the wild-card round, Kelce totaled five catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo. Not only did the Mahomes-to-Kelce combo take over the top spot on the all-time playoff passer-receiver list with 16 touchdown connections, but Kelce also stretched his streak of consecutive playoff games with over 70 yards to a whopping 11. George Kittle ($23) has a more favorable matchup against the Lions, but Kelce's postseason production is unmatched.

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Honorable Mentions:

George Kittle, SF vs. DET ($23); Sam LaPorta, DET at SF ($20)


Kansas City at BAL ($14)

This unit threads the needle between effectiveness and affordability, as KC has a much higher floor than the Lions at $11. Only the Ravens (16.5) allowed fewer PPG in the regular season than Kansas City (17.3), and KC has been even stingier in the postseason, with 15.5 PPG allowed in the playoffs. Josh Allen rushed for two TDs last week, but Buffalo got nothing going in the passing attack. Lamar Jackson's also a dual-threat QB, but he has been substantially less successful than Allen in the postseason. While Allen has a 5-5 record with a 21:4 TD:INT as a passer in the playoffs, Jackson's 2-3 with a 5:5 mark. KC failed to produce a sack or turnover in the Divisional Round and ended a streak of six consecutive games with at least 6.0 fantasy points, but Jackson should be easier to force into mistakes given his history of weak playoff showings.

Honorable Mentions:

Baltimore Ravens vs. KC ($18); San Francisco 49ers vs. DET ($16)